EU Urges UK to Support MSS

The European Commission (EC) has warned the UK and 20 other EU member states that "urgent measures" (i.e. new legislation) must be "rapidly" introduced to support their target for a pan-EU deployment of Mobile-Satellite Services (MSS) by May 2011 "at the latest".

Related MSS solutions, which can deliver both mobile television (TV), radio, emergency communications and rural broadband ISP services, have been seen as a key part of Europe's wider Digital Agenda since the EU first agreed to facilitate the emergence of a new single market for them in 2008.

21 EU Member States have so far failed to put in place all the necessary legislative measures (e.g. licence fees). The UK in particular has managed to implement the Main Statutory Instrument, although three other statutory instruments required for Complementary Ground Component (CGC) terminals (used to relay satellite signals) and fees are still pending.

Mobile satellite solutions operate within the 2GHz spectrum, specifically 1980-2010MHz and 2170-2200MHz frequency bands, and will be delivered within the EU via either Inmarsat (UK) or Solaris Mobile.

However they'll need to improve beyond the existing sub-1Mbps service speeds to be useful for rural broadband services, especially when most fixed Satellite options are both faster and a lot cheaper (Avanti, Hughes, Astra or Eutelsat).

The UK communications regulator ( Ofcom ) had initially been quite active in implementing Europe's new MSS directive, although things went a bit quiet during the 2010 general election year and as a result some issues have yet to be resolved (see above).

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